The Stage Show

Cunnamulla Dreaming was a large scale devised theatrical and dance show performed by students of Cunnamulla State School that had its world Premiere on the 22nd of November 2013 in Cunnamulla.

The script was devised by the students and Peter Cook and addressed two fundamental themes; unity in the community and dreams for our future, allowing the young people to voice how they felt about serious community issues whilst expressing what dreams they had for their own lives.

Prior to any work with the students, the concept was taken to members of the Community Reference Group as well as well as other community leaders and approval was sought to explore these themes with the students. The response was positive and permission was given to go ahead with the project on the proviso that proper community consultation was adhered to throughout the process.

 

The artistic vision for the piece was: To produce a piece of theatre unique to Cunnamulla that engages, challenges, uplifts and entertains the community audience. The content of the piece should reflect the stories the students wish to tell about their community. The production quality of the work should aim to be of a professional standard and the students should be nurtured to achieve excellence in their performances. The hope was that the show helped bring the community together.

The students committed to a rehearsal process over the course of the year, with director Peter Cook and choreographer Nikki Ashby conducting rehearsals at the end of every term for two to three weeks. At the end of every rehearsal block there was a community showing which enabled the community to provide feedback on the development of the show.

For the show the PCYC, which was the old picture theatre, was converted into a theatre. Production company JLX were contracted to bring out stage, lighting and sound from Brisbane to give the community and the students a professional theatre production.

The show was a resounding success and achieved its aim of bringing the community together. The hall was packed with over 200 people each night. Perhaps the impact of the show at the time is best summed up by the response s of some of the audience members….

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“There was one outcome that we had hoped for but were not sure that it would be possible. This was the swell of community support and the encouragement that the kids were given. Not one person who attended the “Cunnamulla Dreaming” Performance had a bad thing to say about it. Each night of the performance the hall was packed with a variety of community members who were excited to see what the kids had developed over the past year. Over the three nights the community members were there to watch and encourage the students and take in the key messages that were being presented. The community on a whole rallied together in support for these kids, this was the best outcome possible.”

Karen Campbell, Principal Cunnamulla State School

“I can’t believe how both white and black people are talking together about the kids amazing performance and how the children of this town are having their say. Which is why we all need to realise how important it is to stand by each other in harmony and not just in emergency, cause those wonderful students who performed in the Cunnamulla Dreaming have shed light within the community I just want to say THANK YOU ALL for making it happen.. it was a deadly performance”.

Tania Guttie, Community member

Cunnamulla Dreaming Creatives

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Peter Cook

Director

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Nikki Ashby

Choreographer

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Jeremy Ambrum

Stage Manager

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Garret Lyon

Song Writer